STEAM Job descriptions for Curriculum Planning




Using job descriptions can facilitate program planning and student learning. A job description provides us with rich opportunities to extract content areas, learning goals, success criteria, and rich tasks for learning. It just doesn’t matter if the position is paid or not, volunteer or mandatory. The point is that you will often find key information about skills that are important in our world today, and perhaps discover more relevant ways to teach those skills.

In my quest to make learning relevant for students, I have begun to look at job postings for S.T.E.A.M. related work, and think about ways that I can apply them to the curriculum. There are a great number of possibilities that crop up when we consider how our curriculum can be interpreted through the lens of a real job.

Consider the following job description in blue. As you review it, consider the cross-curricular, and integrated learning opportunities that may present themselves. Consider the project-based learning opportunities you can use to help students gain the necessary skills to apply for this job. Where do various technologies fit into this picture?

Check it out: 



Organization: Ministry of Transportation
Division: Provincial Highways Management
City: London
Job Term: 1 Permanent
Job Code: 12682 – Engineering Services Officer 3
$1,122.02 – $1,410.37 Per Week*
*Indicates the salary listed as per the OPSEU Collective Agreement.
Understanding the job ad – definitions

Posting Status:

Job ID:
Apply Online
View Job Description
Are you looking for a new challenge? Would you like to apply your knowledge of civil engineering technology and computer abilities in a new way?
Consider this opportunity in structural design while contributing to the safety of Ontario’s transportation system.

What can I expect to do in this role?

In this role you will:
• Prepare scale drawings depicting bridge details and materials for review and approval;
• Prepare associated contract documentation according to Ministry standards using required software;
Review bridge site plans and preliminary geometry information supplied by consultants;
• Carry out quantity calculations and cost estimates;
• Provide and assist in the training of regional staff in bridge inspections, in the use of computerized bridge detailing systems and bridge management systems;
• Provide interpretation of standards, specifications and policies as required;
• Assist in bridge inspections by carrying out inspection of simple structures, and updating and maintaining related databases;
• Provide technical guidance, training and advice to junior staff on bridge drafting and contract preparations, durability and construction issues with complex structural details and innovative techniques ensuring safety and economy;
• Answer queries on technical issues from other jurisdictions as required.

How do I qualify?

(aka learning goals and success criteria, criteria for rubrics and other assessment methods)

Knowledge of Bridge Design

• You have knowledge and skills in the design, detailing and contract preparation of provincial bridge contracts.
• You have knowledge and skills to be able to inspect bridges.
• You have knowledge in bridge design and detailing principles, and ability to consider various constraints such as materials, fabrication and production techniques.
• You have practical working knowledge of the varied and complex safety issues related to the design of bridges.

Communication Skills

• You have well-developed oral and written communication and presentation skills.
• You can use consultation skills to identify needs and maintain effective working relationships with regions and other functional teams
• You are committed to customer service.

Research and Project Planning Skills

• You can understand and interpret engineering plans and profiles, technical reports and relevant codes of practice.
• You have knowledge of project planning in order to design, detail, implement, lead and manage a number of concurrent projects of varying degrees complexity, individually or within a team environment.
• You have demonstrated analytical, planning, scheduling, project management and work coordination skills.

Computer Skills

• You can use computer systems and their applications, including Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems and database systems.

Now that you have had a chance to look at this, tell me you are not inspired by the sheer opportunities to connect science, math, technology and literacy? How many skills can be extracted and channeled into balanced literacy and math activities? How many rich tasks can be created? What projects and inquiries can be facilitated? How will they culminate into an end of unit(s) assessment task that includes applying for this job?
How can we help students figure out what they need to do next in order to ‘prove’ that they have the skills to apply?
What if my students were given a small bank of job descriptions, and they need to choose one that looks interesting that they will apply for.
Here are a few steps to consider:
1. Conduct your hypothetical job search
3. Teach the feedback skills that enable all students to engage in higher quality feedback and assessment as learning processes.
4. Find the Big Ideas
5. Plan your projects, centers, and assessment protocol.
6. Reflect
7. Share
Job searching can provide key information into the skills and knowledge that are important in our world. They can even help inform our curriculum planning and instructional design. Next time you are wondering how to infuse math, science, literacy and more into your short and long range plans, consider starting with a job search.
Deborah McCallum
c 2016

Questions for Knowledge, Development and Learning


Knowledge is not a fixed entity. It is fluid and ever-changing. With that in mind, it is beneficial as educators to get into the habit of  
asking fundamental questions about knowledge. For instance,
  • What is knowledge?
  • How is knowledge produced?
  • What knowledge do I have, and why is it different than someone else’s?
  • Who has the power to produce knowledge?
  • Who benefits from existing knowledge structures?

These are certainly not new questions, as educators, philosophers and psychologists have been asking similar questions for centuries. However, I think they are still important to address, especially in our modern age of information.

Engaging in higher order thinking skills, and asking ourselves these kinds of questions help us to understand issues pertaining to equity, access and corresponding politics. Certainly, the power hierarchies in our society have determined the type of knowledge that we deem to be the most important. We cannot deny the connections that exist between knowledge and power structures and our societies. It is from our places of privilege that we come to deem what knowledge is important and what is not. In the 21st century we also have powerful influences through social media and governments that shape knowledge creation. All too often, we have little regard for the sources of our knowledge. Still more fundamental questions to ask can include:

  • How do we define knowledge and our schools classrooms and other learning environments?
  • How do we differentiate between different forms of knowledge?
  • How do we know what types of knowledge will have more value and which ones will not?

The collaboration and co-creation of knowledge is paramount in the 21st Century. We as educators are not ‘experts’ at all of the potential knowledges that can be created via collaboration and, Information and Computing technologies. Therefore, I have even more questions about how educators can create appropriate learning environments to enable learners to be more self-determining with knowledge acquisition. For instance,

  • How can I strive to continue to make my pedagogy more interactive and strive to understand cultural experiences of the students and learners that I engage with?
  • What are the cultural ways that we come to know our world?
I think that what is important at this day in age is to recognize that the co-creation of knowledge is a cultural process. For instance, it is essential to understand First Nations, Metis, and Inuit backgrounds to incorporate Indigenous Knowledge into my Pedagogy and the curriculum. This knowledge is
especially important in see themselves reflected in the pedagogy of the classroom to increase self-esteem, but also to incorporate into other 
knowledges to create shared understandings.  It is all too easy to replicate hierarchies of power, quite unconsciously. This promotes inequity, and does not prepare learners for an increasingly globalized world that will rely on technology and Indigenous Knowledges.

However, it is nonetheless very difficult to unlearn those ingrained patterns and ideas and knowledge structures. It is important to be open as an 
educator to be flexible with knowledge structures that prevent opportunities to meeting needs of learners in the classroom. One of the ways we can do 
this is through acknowledgement of the the Seven Grandfather Teachings, specifically, the teaching that speaks of Humility. Because knowledge is 
always uncertain, we need to demonstrate humility. Because, after all, it is impossible to be an expert at knowledge. It is not fixed. It is always changing 
and evolving.

Deborah McCallum
© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written 
permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.